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Covered California Q&A

Covered California and Obamacare related questions from consumers, employers and agents are answered by Phil Daigle with the best information available at the time. Archived entries may no longer be accurate as the Covered California and Obamacare knowledge-base is evolving quickly. TO REQUEST A PERSONAL RESPONSE INCLUDE EMAIL ADDRESS.

Are All Bronze Plans HSA Eligible?

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Question: By definition it seems that ALL Bronze plans are considered HDHP. So, I’m confused by the fact that only certain plans offered actually say “HSA.” If I select a plan not specified as HSA but it is actually a high deductible plan, will I still be able to utilize an HSA account?

Answer: No. All Bronze plans are not HSA compatible. Only those labeled as HSA qualified will work with the IRS. If you select a plan not specified as HSA, you will not be able to utilize the tax benefits of an HSA account?


The 2015 standard Bronze 60 plan has a $5,000 deductible.

The new 2016 standard Bronze 60 plan has a stated $6,000 deductible.

However, as stated by Covered California and all health plan carriers, the new $6,000 deductible 2016 standard Bronze 60 plan also requires a 100% co-insurance requirement AFTER the plan’s $6,000 deductible has been satisfied out-of-pocket.

This means that even once the standard 2016 Bronze 60 health plan deductible has been satisfied by the plan member, the Bronze 60 insurance plan subscriber must continue to pay $100% of their claims costs, for another $500 out -of-pocket, until the required 2016 standard Bronze 60 plan’s $6,500 annual out-of-pocket calendar year maximum has been satisfied.

This means the new 2016 standard Bronze 60 health plan has an actual deductible of $6,500!

And Bronze plans premium rates increased on average for 2016.

Ahhh…. Do you remember the days (less than just two years ago, even) when health plans provided much stronger health plan benefit coverage, for actually LESS THAN HALF THE PRICE of current health plans? I do. So do many of my clients.

This then is the “Affordable” in affordable health insurance, as provided by health insurance companies, and as provided by Covered California?

Seems some Covered California oversight is actually necessary, and maybe voters were in fact too quick to defeat insurance company sponsored proposition 45, in 2014, which would have required public notice of health insurance carrier plan rate increases, and would have provided rate and plan oversight approval by the California Insurance Commissioner. The same type of oversight and approval already in existence for health insurance in about 36 other states.

Thanks Phil. I guess I just didn’t understand how all bronze plans weren’t considered HDHP. Now I see than any “first dollar” payments (i.e., 1st 3 visits not subject to deductible) take it out of the HSA eligibility. Always have to check that fine print!

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